Monday, January 31, 2011

Inmost Light

For whatever reason, I’ve always wanted a poison ring.  You don’t have to tell me how bizarre-o that is…I’m well aware.  While I never wanted to utilize the poison holding capabilities of said ring, I’ve always found the concept to be especially intriguing.  A few weeks ago, I finally hopped onto the world wide web and bought myself one.  Well, it came today- straight from Victoria Rogol, an outrageously talented artist in Israel- which of course gives my long awaited poison ring more cool points than I ever could have prepared for. 

(“Where’d you get that ring?”
“Oh this old thing?  It’s a poison ring from Tel Aviv…no big deal”)

I was so intent on ordering my poison ring, I didn’t pay much attention to the other items in the artist’s store until today.  After spending some time exploring it, I’m realizing that was less than a good call.  Turns out I may need to make a few more purchases.  Here are a few particularly great finds and believe me- there’s more where that came from.  Click here to browse Victoria’s store, and here to check out her lovely blog.

Oh, and did I mention it's ridiculously affordable?  Check out these prices...

Design Musings

In honor of one of my favorite days of the year (Valentine's Day!) our Design Musings will be largely comprised of love quotes over the next few weeks.  I've been enamored with this one since reading it in "Love Letters of Great Men" a few years ago.  Hope you adore it too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Que Bella

Nina and Anthony aren’t your average couple…they’ve already been a “we” for nearly a third of their lives, dating all throughout their high school and college years.  They chose to be a “we” through times of transition, in periods of difficulty, and though they were often separated by many miles.  And last October, they stood in front of family and friends and vowed to be a “we” for as long as they both shall live.  And I believe they will. 

I had the privilege of attending their intimate destination wedding just outside Jacksonville, North Carolina a few months ago and I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting to see the professional pictures ever since.  Turns out, this was my lucky week.  I knew these pictures couldn’t help but be special because I’ve never been to a wedding quite like Nina and Ant’s.  It was a total fairytale day, complete with rarities like a calm and delightful bride, perfect weather, and the most breathtaking sunset I’ve ever seen in my life.  I’m so thankful I got to be a part of their special day, and thrilled that Nina would allow me to share a few glimpses of it with all of you.  Beautiful people, beautiful journey, beautiful day…nothing could be more perfect for this week’s Que Bella.

Do You Rue?

Early last December I attended a conference that ended up being a total game changer for me.  The things I learned and the people I met at Lavish helped me revitalize and refine Design-Muse into something I’m very proud to curate.  The whole experience was overwhelmingly positive, but there were certainly a few shining moments that stood out from the others.  Meeting Grace Bonney of Design Sponge (my very favorite design blog) ranked pretty high, getting to connect with a close knit community of other design bloggers I didn’t even know existed was a definite plus, and the many laughs provided by the Lavish Fairy Godmother, Shameeka Ayers made the weekend extra enjoyable.  One of my all time favorite parts of the conference, however, was the opportunity to meet and learn from the lovely ladies of Rue Magazine.  Talk about a group of hard working women!  I’ll tell you what, these four girls are the real deal.  Though each has built a design career in her own right, their claim to fame as a group is the bi-monthly online magazine they founded and produce.  The third issue of Rue was released yesterday and I’ve already poured over it about a thousand times- it is just so, so excellent.  So you have an idea of the kind of quality we’re talking about- here’s a sampling of a few of my favorite images from the most recent issue of Rue.  To check out the other 261 (free!) pages, click here.

 Photo Credit: Emily Anderson
 Photo Credit: Trent Bailey
 Photo Credit: Jamie Beck
 Photo Credit: Jamie Beck
Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Pre-Valentine's Day Treat

Today’s agenda is chocked full of party planning, which makes me happier than I could ever adequately communicate.  Whether I’m orchestrating, attending, or just dreaming them up, I Love (yup, capitol L) parties.

I’ll be featuring the party I’m working on right now in my very first Table for Twelve post (for those of you with no earthly idea what Table for Twelve is, check out our Editorial Calendar for details).  So be prepared, there are some legit Valentine’s Day party ideas coming your way soon.

As I’ve recently discovered, it’s quite difficult to find anything Valentine-sy that’s not also totally kitschy.  In the process of harvesting ideas, I landed at one of the most creative places on the internet and one of my all-time favorite websites, Etsy.  I came across these precious hand painted gift tags that don’t quite fit in with the vibe of the party, but were way too cute to keep to myself.  Are they adorable or what?! 

The Foodie Files

I made a fabulously healthy lunch the other day for a beautiful friend who happens to be on a very strict (and- thankfully- very temporary) diet.  No flour or sugar allowed- talk about a challenge!  At my Mom’s suggestion, I decided to make a homemade chicken and vegetable soup.  The good news is it ended up being as tasty as it was healthy.  The bad news is I sort of threw it together on the fly and don’t actually know what all went in it…which is pretty typical for my cooking, actually.  For me, the really great thing about The Foodie Files has been that it forces me to write down recipes that otherwise existed only in my head (at best).  So, even though I didn't quite catch that delicious and nutritious soup recipe, there's certainly hope that it'll make it on The Foodie Files one day after all (I'll give it another try soon- promise).  For now, I hope you enjoy this non-healthy but equally scrumptious original recipe for a trio of inside out bite sized "pizzas".  They're a variation of my Nonnie's world famous pizza frita, which has been one of my very favorite treats since I can remember.

I started by deciding to make three different pizza-esque bites.  Even though I was trying to replicate a pizza-like taste, I made an executive decision to forgo the tomato sauce in an effort to keep the mess level down to a minimum.  After tasting the final product, I think I made the right call.

The first thing I did was decide what I wanted my "filler" ingredients to be.  Again, based on what I found in my fridge, I narrowed things down to a pepperoni and mozzarella cheese bite, a spinach, artichoke and feta cheese bite and a sage and sun dried tomato goat cheese bite.  


Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. Pizza Dough (I cheated and bought mine fresh from Trader Joe's)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Finely Chopped Garlic
Fresh Baby Spinach
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Goat Cheese
Sun Dried Tomatoes

To prepare your fillers, brown a little chopped garlic then saute a very full handful of Spinach.  Mix in some segmented artichoke hearts (which should also be cut up) and set it aside.  Next tackle the goat cheese.  I cut up about ten medium-sized sage leaves and four large sections of sun dried tomatoes into small pieces then mixed about 3oz of goat cheese right in.  The pepperoni doesn't require any prep at all.

Next, start the filling process.  I used portions of dough about the size of one pepperoni and about half-an-inch thick.  Getting the right amount of dough requires a slight bit of a trial and error, but the objective is to have enough to encase your ingredients without much excess.  Cover two pepperoni with mozzarella cheese and place them on top of your piece of dough, then mold the dough over the filling.  Repeat this process with your portioned spinach, artichoke and Feta cheese and with your goat cheese mixture.  If your finished pieces have too much dough, just remove a bit from the outside...conversely, if lack of dough caused any holes, grab a pinch of dough from elsewhere and create a patch.

Cover the bottom of a saute pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and set heat at just above medium.  Continue flipping these delicious little bites until both sides are a lovely golden brown.  I tried to keep the three fillings separated so that when I served them to my roommates, they knew what they were biting into.

I served three to a person with a side salad and the response was overwhelmingly positive.  I ended up having extra dough and filler, so I let everyone pick their very favorite (spinach got the most votes, for the record) and made them each one more.  Everyone seemed to be full, but if you've got a particularly hungry crew, these might work best as a side item.  Now- mangia, mangia!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I’m gonna go ahead and dub this week’s Mirror, Mirror mensware with a bohemian twist.  I love how things all came together.  And yes, you can so pull off those pants…at the very least, give them a try next time you’re at the mall!  

1. Beaded Synergy Clutch, Anthropologie $99.95  2. Candice Roll Sleeve Reiss, $185  3. Semi Precious Claw Drops, TopShop $20  4. Carlsbad Knuckle Buster  5. Belted Paper Bag Trousers, TopShop $85.00 6.  Engraved Ballerina with Bow, Zara $19.99
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get It Together: A Splash 'O Color

Assembling this space put me in a happy mood, which I'm pretty sure is a good sign.  A little color will do that...especially while we're stuck smack dab in the middle of Winter.  Check back with us next Tuesday for our very first bedroom post!

1. Cluster Bulb Pendant, West Elm $99.00  2. Umbrellas 
Mixed Media on Wood Canvas, Jessica Stoddart
 $375.00  3. Bicycle Mixed Media on Wood Canvas, Jessica Stoddart 
$475.00  4. Electric Beater,
 Jessica Stoddart Watercolor on Wood Canvas 
$375.00  5. Atelier Chesterfield, Anthropologie $5,998.00 6. Aquarium Poster Red & White Eco Throw Pillow, Zen Threads $26 7. Scallops Yellow and Grey Pillow Cover Felt Applique, Amy Burkhart $45 8. Kaipo Table Lamp by Moooi, Unica Home $1,503.00


Preparing for a trip to Ikea forces you to ask questions that aren’t normally associated with furniture shopping.  Are you well hydrated?  Are you wearing appropriate footwear?  Do you have access to a map and/or compass?  I’m telling you…this store is no joke.  Show up unprepared and it will overwhelm you like a tidal wave.  Fortunately, I was in the company of a few pros and we came, saw, and conquered with little injury (with the exception of my completely knotted back- darn you heavy purse!).  My absolute favorite purchase was my new collection of stainless steel espresso cups. My Dad has a similar set and…lets just say we’re more alike than we are different. I guess it was only a matter of time until I bought (and subsequently obsessed over) one too. 

Swedish design is all about clean, white minimilism...and since Ikea might as well be a synonym for Swedish, it’s not surprising that most of my other favorite pieces fit the bill.  Here are a few other goodies I came across.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Design Musings

The Container-For-Everything-But-My-Excitement Store

This past weekend was a perfect storm of wonderfulness.  I took a mini road trip to Atlanta with a few of my lovely cousins and we had a grand time doing the whole eat, shop, and repeat routine.  As much as I adore living in Nashville, I must admit the stores in Atlanta are in a whole other league.  Ikea, Zara, H&M, Lush, and the list goes on- it's a veritable shopping goldmine.  I put up a pretty decent fight, but there were a few items I simply couldn't resist.  I'll share a couple with you throughout the week, but first I wanted to highlight one of my favorite stops we made- The Container Store!  Oh, how to sum it up.  It a word...everything-I-want-my-space-to-be.  Who knew organization could be so fun?  Check out this office display I caught a glimpse of.  Shadow box frames filled with office supplies- genius!  Or at the very least, super cute!

Perhaps more than anything, I went crazy over the wrapping paper.  I mean seriously, how fantastic are these designs? 

Of course, it's called The Container Store for a reason- it's many adorable storage options just about floored me.  I may or may not have purchased a few of the cute gold gift mailers (and maybe a roll of the tweed wrapping paper above)...not sure what I'm gonna send or who I'm sending it to, but I couldn't bring myself to leave without them.   

1. Double Chrome Corner Shelf, $17.99  2. InterMetro® Wine Rack, $176.91  3. Gift Mailers, $0.99  4. Feathergrain Bins, $12.99-$29.99, 5. Take-Out Cartons, $0.99  6. Sapien Bookcase, $198
Friday, January 21, 2011

Que Bella

Well…there was absolutely no competition for this week’s Que Bella.  In fact, in terms of how excited I am, it will be a hard one for all future Que Bellas to compete with.  As of this week I am the proud owner of the most iconic, heart-stoppingly-gorgeous shoes I’ve ever seen.  Yes…I was given my very first pair of Manolos…and quite special Manolos at that.  You may have seen them first here.

Now check them out here!  On my kitchen floor!  In my house!  Seriously, someone get me an inhaler!

I think I’m still pretty much in shock about the whole thing, really.  The thought of snow getting near them makes me want to faint so until the weather calms down a bit I won’t be taking them outside.  They have, however, accessorized my pajamas beautifully for the past few days in a row.  I’m on the hunt for the perfect outfit to don for their inaugural trip outdoors…I’ll let you guys know what I come up with.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Them Bones, Them Bones

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the TV show Bones or not, but I’m…a little obsessed.  I realize it’s kinda cheesy with largely improbable plotlines, but I can’t get enough of Dr. Brennan, Agent Booth and the whole Jeffersonian crew.  I guess it’s my guilty pleasure.  I had a bit of a Bones marathon going on in the background while I worked last night and it must’ve got in my head cause it resulted in the post below.  If you’ve never seen the show then you may not totally understand how the following items correlate.  Sorry about that, but I hope you see something that piques your interest regardless.  This one goes out to Brennan and Booth! :)

1. Bang felt appliqué pillow, Alexandra Ferguson $99  2. Anatomy Print, Z Gallerie $69.95  3. Microscope Vintage Dictionary Coasters, Luna Clay Design $15.00 (set of 4)  4. Test Tube Bud Vase, Mod Cloth $23.99  5. Laboratory Beaker Mug, Think Geek $9.99  6. Bone Appétit dinner plates, Foldepigs $65.00  7. Caffeine Molecule Mug, Think Geek $6.99
Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Foodie Files

Like bacon and eggs, pancakes and syrup or Nutella and anything, French toast and croissants are a match made in breakfast heaven.  I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why I haven’t been making the recipe below my whole life.  I finally gave it a go yesterday morning and my word, was it delicious.  Now that I’ve finally tried it, there’s a good chance I may never go back to plain old boring French toast again.  Give it a go and get back to me on this's a definite keeper. 


3 Croissants
1 Egg
¼ Cup milk
¼ Cup half and half
¼ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon sugar
½ tbs Butter

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg, milk, half and half and vanilla with a fork.

Add about 8 good shakes of cinnamon and four shakes of cinnamon sugar.  I realize adding the cinnamon sugar sounds redundant, but it adds just the right amount of sweet and the texture is nice and fine.  You can use an extra shake of cinnamon and a pinch of sugar instead if you’d like.

Cut a croissant in half and soak both sides in the cinnamon-y goodness you just mixed.  Keep in mind, the flaky side of the croissant will need just a bit more time to soak, while the porous side absorbs very quickly.

Use your butter to grease the bottom of the skillet and turn up the heat to just above medium.  Give things a moment to heat up, then put your croissants in.  They’ll need to cook for about 2 minutes per side, then voila!  I ate mine with some Mascarpone cheese and a few strawberries and it was mmmMmmm good.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I had a brief fling with foggy London town just over six years ago and I’ve wanted to return ever since.  After talking to my BFF, who just got back from visiting The Big Smoke with her Leonardo-Dicaprio-lookalike husband yesterday, my urge to do so quadrupled.  I figured if I can’t go there in body, I will go there in décor…which resulted in the lovely discoveries below.

1. Tall Teapot Pendant, Anthropologie $199.95  2. Wavy Teapot Pendant, Anthropologie $199.95 3 .Round Teapot Pendant, Anthropologie $199.95  4. London Soldier tea towel, The British Chick $11.99  5.  Keep Calm and Carry On Tray , Z Gallerie $19.95  6. Stamp Rug, Rockett St. George £695.00  7. Mind the Gap Mug, Fancy That £5.99  8. Union Jack Pillow, Jayson Home and Garden $175  9. London Themed Magnets, Pretty Originals $11.50 (set of 6)

Mirror, Mirror

Layer up, stay warm, look cute, and tough it out until Spring.  That's the plan.  We're closer to warm weather every day...until then, scarves and boots it is.  And if they're cute enough, I might actually be ok with that. 

1. Double Breasted Raincoat, Zara $69.99 2. All Mine Necklace, ModCloth $15.99  3. Here to Infinity Scarf in Pumpkin, ModCloth $39.99  4. Snow Wool Dress with Puff Sleeves, Zara $19.99  5. Whiting & Davis Snake Embossed Leather & Metallic Mesh Clutch, Nordstrom $275  6. Etched Leather Belt, Zara $15.99  7. Leopard Wrap Watch, $88.00  8. Riley Boot, Loeffler Randall $660.00  9. Ivory Sock, Francesca’s $12.00
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Follow Us On Twitter!

One quick sidenote- as hour ago, we're officially on Twitter!  You can follow us @DesignMuseBlog.  Let's 'tweet up' soon (seriously, I crack myself up). :)

Anthropomorphism At It's Best

When it comes to decorating my own home, I’m pretty sure I have a minor case of design ADD.  While I rarely act on my impulses to- say- throw my entire bedroom in the trash and start over, I’m not saying I haven’t thought about it.  Several times.  Today. 

Though I can’t switch up the house on a whim like I’d love to, I’ve managed to find a fiscally responsible alternative.  I picked one area- just one- that I can completely re-work multiple times throughout the year without feeling bad about it (or bankrupting myself)…the good ‘ol kitchen table.  My original decision to style our table grew out of a different need altogether (which you can read about  here).  Four months and three designs later, I’ve found that switching up place settings has done more than just serve as a reminder not to put clutter on the kitchen table.  Turns out it’s a creative outlet, too.  I put our current place settings together entirely at Z Gallerie and they’re- by far- my favorite so far.  In fact, I’m so happy with them I think they may have (at least temporarily) soothed my ADD.  Imagine that.

And the ingredients are as follows:

1. Elaine Tealight Lamp, $19.95  2. Zebra Napkins, $11.56 set of 4  3. Dog Portrait Plates, $7.95 each  4. Winestein, $14.99  5. Ceramic Books, $103.80 set of 8 (also available for individual purchase in brick and mortar stores) 

Get It Together: The Art of the Bachelor Pad

Stylish, put together, masculine rooms are hard to come by (not unlike their human counterparts). I’ve come up with a number of explanations as to why this could be the case.  
1) Men don’t care about how their house looks
2) They don’t want their friends to know they care and mercilessly tease them 
3) They’re clueless and/or helpless
If you know a man…any man…then I’m sure you’ll agree that any combination of any of the above could be the culprit. Regardless of why men don’t put a lot of effort into decorating their homes on their own, the fact that they don’t has affected what home décor retailers produce. When it comes to furniture, home accessories and the like, the market is directed towards women because they’re the ones buying. The majority of us may not be bothered by this because- lets face it- most of us are women and love having a quadrillion options. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow much room for the bachelor pad to positively evolve. So, in the name of progress, this one goes out to the fellows.
P.S- Soak up all the neutrals you can right now, cause next week we’ve got some serious color coming at you.

1. Organic Rococo Mirror, Anthropologie $398  2. Rising Atoll Curtain, Anthropologie $$138.00-$198.00  3. Ring Of Light Lamp, Anthropologie $328  4. THERON ARMCHAIR, Jayson Home & Garden $450.00  5. Thomas Paul Seafarer Sail Jute Pillow, Layla Grace $80  6. Thomas Paul Seafarer Anchor Jute Pillow, Layla Grace $70  7. HAWTHORNE WINGCHAIR, Jayson Home & Garden $2,695.00
Monday, January 17, 2011

Story People

Words are, perhaps, the most powerful tools we have access to.  They infiltrate our minds and hearts without regard and often settle in so deeply they stay with us forever.  While some of the words we hold with us cut their way in, we can only hope they are outnumbered by those we cherish. 

I was recently introduced to a treasure chest of words- many of which I plan to hang on to for quite some time.  While each of these pieces by artist and storyteller Brian Andreas bear some form of illustration, the words shine through as the starring medium.  These designs, as well as many others, are available in prints, cards, book collections and more through his company, Story People.  I found myself so encouraged and inspired by their pieces…as though I could laugh and cry and smile all at the same time.  I hope you’re moved as well- let me know what you think!

Design Musings

Friday, January 14, 2011

Going Postal

I have a long list of favorite things…and I don’t mean that as an expression.  I mean that- somewhere along the line- I developed an actual hard copy list of things I love and that list is long.  Is that a weird thing to have?  Perhaps.  But I enjoy adding to it and watching it change over time, almost like a diary.  A constant on my list of favorites has always been letters in the mail.  As much as I love e-mail and texting and all that nonsense, there’s just no beating snail mail in terms of a personal form of communication.  I’m actually on my way out the door to the post office as we speak (or as I type, whatev...), but I thought I’d leave you with a few postage inspired items before I go.  Hope your weekend is fabulous and restful- see you bright and early Monday morning!

1. 1964-1965 New York World's Fair Postage Stamp Enlarged on Canvas, Past Postage $40  2. Le Coq Gaulois French postage stamp pendant necklace, Ruby Ann Designs $20  3. French Postage Stamp Burlap Pillow Slip, Jolie Marche $40  4. Postage Rug, Anthropologie  5. Postage Sofa, Neiman Marcus $3,998.90

Que Bella

Until I moved to Tennessee, I thought all trash TV was the same.  Come to find out, there’s a total hierarchy.  While I don’t imagine I’ll ever be able to handle the likes of Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, or Real Housewives of any variety I have discovered a few less horrific programs I can stomach if need be (code for: if my cousins are watching it and I don't feel like moving).  In order to determine whether the new show ‘Off the Map’ was unwatchable or not, I gave the program a look-see tonight.  I’ve gotta say…I’m glad I did.  I didn’t like the show itself it in the slightest, of course, but it did have one redeeming factor.  One of the last scenes had the coolest shot that- against all odds- inspired is this week’s Que Bella.  In case you’re out of the loop, Que Bella is our weekly column that highlights the most beautiful thing I saw all week.  I’m super excited about this series because we haven’t imposed any limits on content whatsoever.  Some weeks we might cover a beautiful home, others might showcase a piece of jewelry…whatever it is that gets the biggest reaction from me all week is crowned the victor.  This week, the winner was algae (curve ball, eh?).  Not just any algae- bioluminescent algae.  I’d heard of this before, but when I saw it on the show I knew further investigation was in order.  Bioluminescent is just a fancy way of saying “a living organism that lights up”- in the case of the algae in question, it lights up only when the water it lives in is disturbed.  I was recently bit by the travel bug, so I’m really hoping to see this little wonder in person someday...especially since it’s mostly found throughout the world’s coastlines in temperate and subtropical regions.  To watch a nifty little video of bioluminescent algae in action, click here.  To check out pictures, just a-keep on scrolling.

Photo Credit: lozinskitom Flickr

Photo Credit: tehbieber Flickr
Photo Credit: Ink'n'Image Flickr
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Ink'n'Image Flickr
Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's Your Poison?

Ahh…Ye Olde Apothecary.  Land of Amber-colored antique glass bottles, rustic wood, and vintage packaging.  Home to elixirs of yore where medicine is brewed and potions are available for purchase.  What could be more intriguing?  Even the word itself is just plain awesome.  Apothecary.  I seriously love it.  As a result of my fascination, I spent the morning exploring all things Apothecary-esque.  I’m particularly fond of the antique pharmacy bottles…and the packaging of the Oatmeal Soaps….and the Apothecary table…who am I kidding, I love it all.  Hope you do too.

1. Le Labo Eau De Parfum, Anthropologie $28-$62  2. Apothecary Glass Lavender Candle, Abe’s Market $17.95  3. Oatmeal Soap Set, Jayson Home & Garden $11  4. Found Pharmacy Bottles, Pottery Barn $69 – $149  5. Delfina Large Covered Jar, Crate&Barrel $62.95  6. Rustic Oak Apothecary Table, Mercantila $503.13

The Foodie Files

I come from a long line of foodies…in fact I dare say it’s one of the things that binds us together.  Like other families, we have our fair share of arguments and disagreements.  Unlike other families, said fights are as likely to be about who is responsible for bringing lite syrup into the house as anything else.  We’re passionate about making, eating, buying, sharing and talking about food.  And we do all of the above…a lot.

I had a light bulb moment a few short weeks ago while narrowing down ideas for what would eventually become our weekly editorial calendar.  If Design-Muse is a reflection of me in any way, to not include a space for cooking would seem almost dishonest.  I may not be a professional chef or even a terribly experienced home cook, but what I lack in credentials I make up for in enthusiasm.  And as I’m finding out, passion does count for something.  It actually kind of counts for everything.

My plan for The Foodie Files is to present original recipes I’ve created, tweaked and tried throughout the week.  This isn’t just a space to post recipes that sound good to me- if I haven’t made it myself, it simply won’t make the cut. 

Due to the snow (and, more specifically, Nashville’s general lack of plows and salt), I had to come up with a recipe using only what I could find in my cabinets and refrigerator.  This presented an interesting, but very realistic challenge.  I was at a loss until I noticed the surplus of pistachios, at which point I realized how much I like the phrase ‘pistachio encrusted’.  From that point, it was pretty much game on.  I’d never attempted encrusting something in pistachio before, but it seemed as good a time as any to try.  I had a pretty small crowd of three (including myself) to feed, and there was more than enough to go around but you can adjust the measurements below if you're feeding more.  I was really pleased with the results, which went a little something like this….


6 pieces of chicken tenderloin
½ cup crushed pistachios
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs   
1½ tablespoons honey
1 egg
¼ cup flour
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Crush pistachios by placing them in a Ziploc bag and pressing with a spoon.  Try to resist the urge to pulverize them…one good squash over each area of the bag should do. 

In a shallow bowl, combine pistachios and Panko breadcrumbs.  Mix until both ingredients are evenly distributed. 

In a separate bowl, combine your egg and honey.  Mix well.

In yet another bowl, pour your flour.

Lightly season your chicken tenderloins with salt and pepper then coat them in flour, egg, and crumbs (in that order). 

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and heat over a medium-high setting.  Allow a few minutes for your oil to heat up- the amount of time it takes will vary depending on the type of pan and stove you’re using.  For this recipe, you’ll want the oil to be hot enough to brown the outsides of the chicken…if it doesn’t sizzle when placed in the pan, bump up the heat just a tad until it does. 

Once both sides are browned (about 2½ minutes per side), lower your heat to just below medium and allow chicken to sauté for an additional 15 minutes. 

The finished product should be salty, sweet, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  I served the chicken alongside spinach gnocchi with butter sage sauce and a Caprese inspired salad with crispy pancetta but it’s versatile enough to work with many different sides (when in doubt, protein + greens + starch = meal).  Let me know if you get a chance to give it a go!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Golden Years

I’m fascinated by images of out-dated cameras for two main reasons.  The obvious is the fact that they’re pretty much unquestionably cool.  Throw a couple well selected prints into frames and brace yourself for the rush of compliments…reason enough to merit some interest, I think.  Aside from that, I also find the whole idea of them to be fairly ironic.  Think about it with me- these cameras were forced into retirement by new technology…fast forward a few years and the very features that make them poorly suited for their original purpose (most notably their bulky, complicated design) now make them a perfect candidate to be photographed.  They may no longer be the artist, but they’ve found a new gig as a muse…it’s a bit of a Cinderella story, don’t you think?  Either way, I’m loving the look of these vintage camera prints and imprinted paraphernalia.  Looks like they’re enjoying their retirement to me!

1. 4x6 Fine Art Print, MarianneLoMonaco $5. Other sizes available. 2. Golden Avocado Green Toddler Shirt, Wren Willow $24 3. Vintage Canon Baby Onesie, Designed Threads $15 4. Cloth Napkins, Oh, Little Rabbit $20 for four 5. 8x8 Fine Art Photograph, Ashley LeTourneau $18  6. 4x6 Fine Art Print, MarianneLoMonaco $5. Other sizes available.

Mirror, Mirror

Welcome to day one of Mirror, Mirror- our stylish weekly column that offers my take on a flattering, original head to toe look.  To me, that’s what fashion should be about…looking good, feeling comfortable, and standing out for all the right reasons.  For our first post, I wanted to assemble an outfit that’s polished and classic yet trendy at the same time.  Here’s what I came up with…thoughts?

1.    1. Filigree Cardi, Anthropologie $118  2. Ruffle Weather Scarf, ModCloth $24.99  3. Deena & Ozzy Crocodile Purse, Urban Outfitters $38  4. Time After Time Bracelet, ModCloth $24.99  5. I Ain't Lion Earrings, ModCloth $17.99  6. Platform Wedge Pumps, L.A.M.B. $220  7. Chiffon Twist Skirt, $48
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paint By Number

Paint by number kits have been around since Max S. Klein, a commercial artist and owner of the Palmer Paint Company, created them in 1950.  Variations of Klein’s original kit have brought countless hours of joy to children, bored people and the artistically challenged ever since.  Over the last several decades, paint by number kits have made the journey from cutting edge to kitsch to kind of cool again in the right context (ah, the great the great circle of life).  My favorite interpretation of the look is when they’re half finished- check out these fun takes on the idea.